Tag Archives: public speaking

Speak With Confidence

Despite the Real Madrid match, a multitude of members including a decent amount of guest came out to witness Ola, Jack and Juliet deliver their icebreaker and 7th speeches respectively.

The Toastmaster of the evening, Luciana, along with the time keeper Villy and grammarian Rose ensured that the meeting run smoothly.

IMG_2738First to the stage was Ola who dazzled the audience with her flawless movements and expressive hand gestures as she spoke about her life. For her first ever speech, she did well taking control of the stage. Her fairy tale style speech, focused on abandoning her native land Poland at the age of  23 years,  to begin a new life in sunny Spain. As an introvert, she declared that the move had made her more lively and open. Although it was her Icebreaker speech, Ola exhibited vital public speaking skills such as maintaining eye contact with audience, and she was even able to use humour in her speech.

It was no fairy tale speech with Jack. He was very expressive about the things he likes, thanks to the Beatles vinyl, Atletico de Madrid jersey and a family portrait he had brought along to back up his case.

Any toastmaster member would attest that delivering your Icebreaker speech can be nerve-wracking but not Jack, he kept his cool, was calm and collected and owned the stage. His speech had a clear structure and  a good conclusion.

IMG_2737Juliet started her speech with a question which immediately captured the audience’s attention. Her chosen subject about beauty touched the audience heart. Thanks to her personal anecdotes, Juliet made her speech a personal one. Also the use of visual aids helped to follow and understand her speech. Juliet appeared natural on stage and spoke with a clear loud voice backed with superb movements.

After the prepared speeches, it was time for the impromptu speeches which was well thought and wonderfully executed by the Table Topic Master Masha.

Lewis, Jesus, Nacho, and Jim were the fortunate ones to participate in the Table Topics, they were to guess the person behind a secret and also elaborate more on that secret.

All in all it was a it a great meeting, and most importantly we learned some dark secrets about some members.

Written by Christian

Working Behind The Scenes

An effective mentor is essential for a new member when taking his or her first steps at Toastmasters. It makes them feel more secure and that, as a club, we are interested in them. Given that we meet just twice a month and we are all “so pleased to see each other” we can look like a clique and a difficult group to break into.

A good mentor will give – in addition to guidance with the first four speeches – feedback on smaller roles taken, like Timer, Grammarian and Thought of the Day. They will introduce the mentee to other members and chase them up if they miss two meetings for example. A good mentor will also encourage the new member to set goals, a speech perhaps once every two months. While some mentees/mentors meet for a coffee to discuss speech ideas, I find it just as efficient using email. It is nice if this system is explained to our guests as it is reassuring, and it might even sway the balance in favor of joining Toastmasters.

VP of Mentorship is, in fact, a new committee position that we started in Madrid Toastmasters a few years ago in order to take some pressure off the VP of Membership. It has proved very successful and our sister club, Excelencia Toastmasters has also introduced the role. The VP of Mentorship can, for example, speak to new members before and after the meeting, while the VP of Membership can look after guests. It is helpful if the Sergeant at Arms, or Toastmaster of the Day, can be reminded to introduce these new members at the start of the meeting as they can easily be confused with visitors.

When looking for a mentor for someone I encourage the new member to come along to the main bar after the meeting where our free tapas await us. I introduce them to several members and observe what experienced member they chat to the longest, and the following day I suggest by email that they pair up! Another question to be kept in mind is that some of our members also join to improve their English, so it is quite useful to pair up a native with a non-native speaker.

Speech ContestThe VP of Mentorship should also leave some time to follow-up the introduction. Is the mentor actually being proactive? Are they still attending meetings? Some mentors may forget who they have been assigned (if they are mentoring several people) and a mentee may be waiting in the sidelines for the other person to take the initiative.

It is always a thrill when a member makes a tenth speech and becomes a Competent Communicator, but we should always remember that behind every successful speaker there stands a mentor!

Written by Jane Kinnear, CC, CL

Any wordmonger in the room?

IMG_2027On Wednesday 16th we gathered at Anthony’s Place to see three of our members, Mabel, Ana and Alberto, demonstrate how the objectives of their respective speeches could be achieved.

The meeting began with the introduction of our guests. Jaime, a member of Excelencia Toastmasters club. Carla and Sam, both of them English teachers. Blanca, whose mother had recommended her to visit a Toastmaster meeting. And a girl, friend of our fellow member Masha, from Moldova.

Raquel, our Toastmaster of the Day, told us about the Toastmasters International new app. Before the meeting, she had contacted all the participants to ask them for the app they found most useful. That is how we learnt that the most useful app for Quyen, who was filling the role of grammarian, is Waze. She introduced wordmonger as the word of the day. I have to say, few of the participants found a challenge to use it correctly. Additionally, we learnt that Iván, our timekeeper of the day, most useful app is Fintonic.

IMG_2032Before the speeches started, Eric used the thought of the day section to tell us about the most dangerous word in the world: no. And how brain reacts to negative idea. Great start.

Mabel, whose favorite app is Runkeeper, delivered the speech “Superheroes”. After a moment of silence, she confessed she had superpowers. She used her movements, gestures and facial expressions to convince us that we could also be Superheroes. We just need to master the “Champion Position”. Those that were not able to make it, missed a great opportunity to be a more powerful individual.

Ana, who calls herself a Whatsapp addict, become a Competent Communicator after successfully completing project #10 of the manual. Her speech “Follow your hunches” was an inspiring tour of her life and why is important to act on our intuitions. Ana cleverly used well recognized songs to lead the audience through a self-discovery journey.

IMG_2042Alberto, who picked e-Park as his most useful app, completed the first project of the Storytelling manual by delivering the speech “The Pied Piper”. He started asking us to close our eyes and imagine that we were in bed. That peaceful moment was quickly left behind when he introduced one of the main characters in the story, rats. The plot was an intelligent reinterpretation of The Pied Piper of Hamelin with a tougher end.

Strangely enough, only one app was chosen by more than one person. Teresa and Luis, who were both evaluators, chose the app that informs about public transportation in Madrid. Both of them together with Carlos, Ana and Jim gave constructive feedback to all the meeting participants aiming to improve their skills. Ana, our VP of PR, confessed Raquel she doesn’t let Twitter rest.

IMG_2048Maria, as the table topic master, ask some “victims” to deliver an elevator speech to a capital investor while waiting in line at a coffee shop. The pre-set business ideas run from a matchmaking service for dogs to auction-based restaurants. I have to say all the participants, Jack, Navinya, Santi, Juliet and Rose, achieved their mission

I almost forgot to mention that Jim, our club founder, mentioned that Alberto’s speech reminded him of the book “A nation of sheep” by William J Lederer. I’m sure it is a worthwhile reading.

Written by Javier.

Snowflakes keep falling on my head…

Manolo, standing in for Jesús, opened the meeting and introduced our Toastmaster of the Day, Masha.
The meeting had a wintery feel as the room had been decorated with paper snowflakes and Masha explained that where she comes from, winter starts on the 1st of December. The room was packed as we had plenty of members and 12 guests.
Alex A. acted as Grammarian and introduced the very fitting word of the day “pollution”. Luis acted as Timer.
Ivan was our first speaker. The title of his speech was “Are you happy?” and he took us through the theoretical side of being happy, explaining spikes of happiness as opposed to long term happiness, and the differences between physiological and self-actualization happiness. He added a personal touch about how much he had learnt from his granny.
On a parallel note, our next speaker also on Project 2 talked about goals and “It’s never too late”. He gave us tips on achieving goals using the “smart technique”. He talked on the importance of persistence, and he gave us real life examples using Thomas Edison and JK Rowling.
20151202_210741_resizedThe meeting then took quite a turn as our next speaker Teresa, doing an advanced manual on poetry reading, took us north to a fishing village by the hand of Pulitzer prize winner, Elizabeth Bishop. We were indeed impressed by “At the fishhouses” with a myriad of rich adjectives and metaphors that brought these cold waters alive.
Next we had three evaluations on the three speeches. Mabel was pushed to find recommendations for Ivan except for using more pauses to reinforce the conclusion. In her opinion there were a couple too many anecdotes and ideas that “polluted” the message and made it a bit less clear.
Christian was applauded for not using any notes and for the clear outline of his speech, but Raquel advised him to give personal examples of what he was “preaching” which would draw him closer to the audience.
Nacho, evaluating Teresa, pointed out how well she had done on such a difficult project. She was advised to read sentences as a whole and to make sure the pauses went in the right places.
We were all ears for Table Topics performed by Javier A. He said he wanted us to pretend to be ministers and to come out with our election promises. The lucky few to be chosen were Villy on Transport (having just arrived in Madrid she was a bit flummoxed with this one). Luis G. on Education told us after his Finnish experience he would put just ten kids in a classroom and he would put a stop to dubbing movies. Rosa on Taxes said she would tax people according to their savings, the more you saved the less tax you would pay, and the less trash you chucked out the less tax also. Alex H. on the Environment explained how he would confiscate 25% of the profit of any company polluting Madrid. Ola on Employment just managed to keep going for one minute and she promised that under her anyone wanting to work would be able to work.
Jim evaluating Table Topics praised Javier on the subject matter and for reminding people they did not actually have to be smart in their answers. Villy got into trouble for not answering the question, Luis got praise for being a quick thinker but he was told the phrase “education in Spain sucks” was a little strong. Rosa was advised not to say “thank you” at the end of an intervention, and Alex H. was also commended for being a quick thinker.
The Timer and Grammarian gave their reports and Carlos H. wrapped up the meeting as General Evaluator. He pointed out that several people had to watch their enunciation and he disagreed with Ivan’s evaluator regarding too much info in Ivan’s speech detracting from the message.
Nacho proudly introduced three people who have been recognized lately: Raquel as an Outstanding Member by the Division, Masha for having done wonderfully well at the District Conference and Alex, the newest Distinguished Toastmaster in Madrid. Raquel announced the Christmas Party on Friday 18th December at Alta Burguesía, cost 20 euros pp.
Masha closed the meeting at 22:15 reminding us to do small things with our loved ones this winter, like making snowflakes.

Writeen by Jane.

Wise Recommendations

We enjoyed a lot during our last Club meeting: the Toastmaster of the evening and the supporting roles worked hard, the speakers were amazing, the Table Topics participants revealed hidden aspects about themselves… but the evaluators, they all were awesome gave us lots of wise and useful recommendations. We must put all of them into practice!!

We all know that Jesús is the Sergeant At Arms of Toastmasters Madrid, but he was not able to attend our meeting on 21st of October. Therefore, Masha opened the meeting and introduced the Toastmaster of the Day: Wanda.

Wanda chose Halloween as the topic of the day. How many of us do celebrate Halloween? Where does this tradition come from? Are we buying pumpkins instead of “buñuelos”? asked Wanda at the beginning of the meeting.

Before the prepared speeches, we discovered how thoroughly Iván and Maravillas had prepared their roles as Grammarian and Timekeeper:

  • Ivan’s explanation of his role was very professional. We will never forget that the choice of SASSY as word of the day was displayed with several excerpts from Classic Literature.
  • Maravillas was Timekeeper for the first time. She was very strict with the use of time and didn´t hesitate to start clapping when some participants went overtime.

All of us are happy when a recent member delivers her Icebreaker. It is the first step for becoming CC. And on 21st of October, Ana Belén introduced herself as a Toastmaster. Thanks to Ana Belén, we remembered that there were frontiers between Spain and Portugal not a long time ago. All the times she crossed the Spain-Portugal border during her childhood made a great impact on her.

“Is it about time to move on?” was the question that Javier asked to us when starting the second speech of the evening. The objective of his third project was to “get to the point”, to be extremely clear, and he was. We will never forget Javier’s explanation of many employees´ feelings after being a long time without a promotion: “I quit some time ago, but I forgot to tell it”.

Marina was the third speaker of the day. Her evaluator, Eric pointed out that the 5th speech of the Competent Communicator manual is very important, because the speaker has to use her entire body in order to communicate. She spoke about good manners around the table, how she learnt them thanks to her mother, and how everybody should behave during business meals.


All the evaluators (Ana, Pedro and Eric) praised speakers, remarked their great job and gave wise and useful recommendations that all of us should learn too: breathe more, choose a specific topic, impersonate characters, and be sure all the audience is watching.

If you have ever attended a Toastmasters Madrid meeting, you know that there is something very important after the prepared speeches: Table Topics!!!

Maria was Table Topics Master and charged her victims of stealing, reckless driving, or committing environmental crimes. Jonas, Mabel, Christian, Julian, and Masha had the chance to defend themselves in front of the Toastmasters Madrid Jury, but Judge Maria took the Club gavel and found all of them guilty.

Table Topics have an Evaluator too: Teresa, who was shocked by the amount of criminals in our club. She gave useful tips to all of them in order to invent a better alibi next time.

After the Grammarian and Timekeeper reports, Wanda, the Toastmaster of the Day, introduced the last role: General Evaluator, who evaluates the meeting as a whole and gives wise pieces of advice to improve our events.

Wow, lots of things to learn from Juliet’s evaluation. Some of them that we should never forget are:

  • Having a backup or second Sergeant at Arms in case Jesús Clemente cannot attend again.
  • Having plenty of pens and evaluation sheets for crowded meeting.
  • Welcoming the guests (11 during our last meeting) and explaining them what is happening during the meeting. Juliet noticed how all the members tended to sit close to each other, without mixing in with the guests.
  • Speak loud and clear when somebody is having dinner in the same room!!

Written by Raquel